O Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie

Flint Hill
04/01/10 03:06:09PM

"O bury Me Not", also known as "The Dying Cowboy", starts out as "The Ocean Burial", an 1839 poem by Edward Hubbell Chapin, in which a young sailor dies and is buried at sea.

It resurfaced in the 1870s with the ocean transformed into the American prairie and the sailor into a dying cowboy. Authorship is variously attributed with the most commonly cited reference being Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys , 1921, in which he attributes it to "H. Clemens, Deadwood, Dakota" with a publishing date of 1872.

There are several tunes in both major and minor keys.

I learned this decidedly minor-key, hexatonic version from Hedy West. It lacks the sixth scale degree and is therefore playable in tunings intended for the Aeolian and Dorian modes. I play it melody-drone style in Eeaa tuning, which starts a Dorian scale on the fourth fret of the paired melody strings.